Agrarian Crisis and Transformation in India





This paper examines the changes taking place in the agriculture sector in India, especially since the launching of neoliberal reforms in 1991.Indian agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the people but in recent years it has experienced a slowdown in growth rates. This sector is experiencing unprecedented crisis with low productivity, high rural unemployment and food insecurity.In the past, availability of credits to farmers,along with subsidies on new inputs were as important determinant of investment in agriculture. Since the nationalisation of commercial banks in India in 1969 and until 1980 the country followed the policy known as ‘social and development’ banking. However, with the launch of liberalisation policies, the government became very critical towards such policies, and it was argued that the banks should function on a commercial basis. India has experienced GDP average growth rates of 7% for the last nearly a quarter century. However, emphasising the overall growth rate can be misleading, as it does not tell us about the sectoral composition of growth. The growth rate in agriculture sector has been much slower. With the modernisation and development of manufacturing and services, the agriculture sector has declined, as happened in the East Asian economies. However, in India the decline in the agricultural contribution to GDP is not accompanied by a similar degree of employment expansion in the manufacturing sector.

Key words: Indian economy, agriculture, employment, WTO, and economic liberalisation.

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